Tuscan apple cake A rustic, flan-like apple dessert with a mouthwatering caramelized base

Tuscan apple cake

This simple cake is all about fresh apples

More like a flan than a cake, this rustic dessert is chock-full of apples and incredibly moist, making every spoonful a pure delight. The list of ingredients is short, and for good reason: it’s all about the apples!

The delectable apples in this recipe can be cut into super-thin slices easily by using the slicing attachment of a food processor, although a mandoline or a box grater will do the job perfectly too.

Bake it right on the floor of the oven!

And unlike most cakes, this one’s perfection begins with it baking right on the floor of the oven. The delicious result: a caramelized skin forms at the bottom of the cake and intensifies the flavors of the sweet apples.

Simple, rustic, succulent… And if there are any leftovers, they make a fantastic breakfast treat to boot!

Food & drink pairing: Sparkling hard cider with Tuscan apple cake

Sparkling wine iconI love to serve a glass of sparkling hard cider with this dessert, especially an off-dry one, like Farnum Hill Semi-Dry Cider. Rich, complex and wonderfully aromatic, this cider is out of this world!

Three apples in the sun

Tuscan apple cake

makes 1 medium cake or 8 servings
active time: 30 min

  1. 4 large Golden Delicious, Gala or other firm flesh apples (1 3/4 lbs) (800 g)
  2. 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  3. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  4. pinch sea salt
  5. 2 extra large eggs – at room temperature
  6. 1 cup organic sugar
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. 1/2 cup milk
  9. 7 tablespoons unsalted butter – melted and slightly cooled
  1. powdered sugar as garnish
  2. 1 – 10″ non-stick round spring-form pan – buttered and floured

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Step 1:camera icon Peel, core, and quarter the apples. Then using the slicing attachment of a food processor cut them crosswise in 1/8″ slices. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. Step 2:camera icon Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk at medium speed until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is pale and thick, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  4. Step 3: Fold the flour into the egg mixture with a wooden spoon, until just incorporated. Fold in the milk, then the butter and finally the apple slices. Be sure not to over mix. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Pack the apples into the mold and flatten the surface of the cake with the wooden spoon.
  5. Step 4:camera icon Bake for 10 minutes on the floor of the oven. Transfer the pan to the middle rack and continue baking for 50 to 55 minutes until golden-brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven, and run a paring knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the ring of the mold. Cool in its mold to room temperature. Unmold the cake and transfer to a serving platter. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
  6. Cook’s note: The cake can be baked up to 6 hours ahead and kept in its mold at room temperature in a cool place. It is best eaten the day it is made.

Viviane’s tip
  1. Older springform pans don’t have as tight a grip as new ones, so here’s a trick to prevent leakage: Remove the rim from the springform pan and butter the bottom part of the pan. Cut parchment paper in a 12″ x 12″ square and line the bottom of the pan. (The butter will help the paper stick to it.) Then place the rim on top of the paper and fasten it. Next, butter the bottom and sides of the pan and dust with flour. This will also make unmolding your cake a breeze!

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Tuscan apple cake

dessert, cake, apple

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75 Comments

  • Reply Mary December 9, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    I’m confused as it states to add the apples to the batter but then says to pack the apples into the mold. So do I mix apples into the batter and then also put them on the very top of the cake?
    Thank you,

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre December 14, 2018 at 10:36 pm

      Hi Mary! I suggest you look at the video clip (click on the little video icon next to “Step 2”). You will see exactly what I mean. This recipe takes a lot of apples. Once you add the apple slices to the batter, the slices will look like they are just coated with the batter. Pour that all in the mold and then use your wooden spoon to flatten the apple slices so the surface of the cake is flat. Hopefully the video clip will make all that super-easy to understand. Have fun baking your cake!

  • Reply Teresa G November 26, 2018 at 12:43 am

    I made this cake for thanksgiving and it was the hit of the evening!! It is different and elegant but yet simple and delicious! Who doesn’t like apples!? And custard/flan? Waiting to try it was hard but everyone loved it and it rivaled the smoked turkey we did too! Thank you so much for this delightful lite and healthy dessert!

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre November 26, 2018 at 1:41 am

      You’re most welcome, Teresa! I am delighted your cake was so appreciated by everyone and that your Thanksgiving was such a delicious one! Thank you for your wonderful note, which simply made my day!

  • Reply Norma November 18, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    I have a gas oven but the flame unit is in the rear. I guess I should follow your instructions for just baking on the middle shelf for longer. Does that method give the same carmelizing effect as your original method?

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre November 18, 2018 at 9:03 pm

      Hi Norma, Good idea to bake the cake in the middle of the oven. And yes, baking a little longer until the edges caramelize will give you the same delicious results. Let me know how it turns out… and enjoy!

      • Reply Norma November 22, 2018 at 9:32 pm

        Hi Viviane,

        It turned out great for Thanksgiving Day dessert.

        I made it exactly per the recipe using Granny Smith apples but baked it on the middle rack for the entire time. I turned the temp down to 350F the last half since it seemed to be browning on top pretty fast. I checked it with a toothpick as directed between 50 and 55 minutes and it was done. It was crunchy on the edges and looked like your photos.

        It was delicious and will be a keeper.

        • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre November 24, 2018 at 4:28 pm

          I am delighted to hear, Norma! Thank you for letting me know it turned out so well!

  • Reply Barbara November 18, 2018 at 2:15 am

    Just saw this in my email today, read through it and headed to the kitchen to make it!!!! It is one of the best apple dishes I have had! Forget the cooling…. We couldn’t wait!

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre November 18, 2018 at 2:59 am

      Oh my… Thank you, Barbara! I am over the moon you liked this cake. May you enjoy making it many more times. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  • Reply Carolyn November 17, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Hi this sounds great. I will make for Thanksgiving. I too have electric oven with element on the floor, however I could put pan on floor with element around pan (not touching). is this ok? also there are no spices like cinnamon, nutmeg etc. I have not ever had apple dessert without cinnamon. Would it distract from flavor or enhance? Due this being a flan like flavor/texture, maybe cinnamon and or nutmeg would ruin it???

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre November 17, 2018 at 10:27 pm

      Hi Carolyn, Thank you for your comment. As I say in the first sentence of my introduction to this recipe: It’s all about the apples! So here, less is more. Refrain from adding spices if you want to taste the true flavor of this Tuscan dessert. As for the oven, I would not put the cake around your elements at the bottom of your oven. Just bake it in the middle of the oven, like you would for any other cake. You might have to add a few more minutes of coking time to achieve the caramelized crust around the edges… like shown in the photo. Happy baking!

  • Reply ann November 17, 2018 at 8:55 pm

    Curious if anyone has substituted gluten-free flour?? Looks amazing! I’ll have to give it a try.

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre November 17, 2018 at 10:23 pm

      Hi Ann, Thank you for your comment. I haven’t tested this cake with gluten-free flour, but there is so little flour in this cake that I think it should work fine.

  • Reply cecilia oliwa November 17, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    what is organic sugar //

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre November 17, 2018 at 10:21 pm

      Hi Cecilia, Organic sugar is sugar that has not been bleached, so it looks light brown. It also has more flavor than white sugar because it still has some molasses in it. This is a good brand that you can find in most grocery stores: https://www.floridacrystals.com/product/organic-granulated-pouch Enjoy!

  • Reply Cel November 17, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    We live in a high altitude ~5400 ft. Is the measurement the same?

    Thank you.

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre November 17, 2018 at 7:35 pm

      Hi Cel, this is a very moist, flan-like cake, so I think the recipe would translate fairly well at high altitude… but of course, I haven’t tested this recipe at 5,400ft! King Arthur has a page on high-altitude baking https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html Maybe you’ll find it helpful. Let me know how the cake turns out!

      • Reply Cel November 22, 2018 at 6:00 am

        Hi Vivian,

        I followed your recipe in detailed. I didn’t worry about the altitude as it’s only require 1/2c of flour and like you said it’s like a flan cake. It turned out great! I highly recommend to anyone!

        I’ll serve this cake tomorrow as dessert!

        Happy thanksgiving!

        Cel

        • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre November 24, 2018 at 4:26 pm

          That’s wonderful news, Cel! I hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving… and that every one loved your cake!

  • Reply Ramona November 17, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    Question! The broiler in my oven is located above the oven…so there is no high heat at the bottom of
    the oven!
    So I guess I can’t “brown” the bottom of the cake?
    Or does that matter?

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre November 17, 2018 at 7:31 pm

      Hi Ramona, For electric ovens with no bottom heat source, bake the cake in the center of the oven, as you would any other cake. You might have to increase the cooking time by a few minutes until the cake has those delicious golden-brown edges (as the photo indicates). Happy baking!

  • Reply Ferne November 17, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    Can you bake on the floor of a gas oven? I have never done that and am not sure about the outcome or safety.

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre November 17, 2018 at 6:22 pm

      Hi Ferne, All the recipes on my website are tested in a gas oven, so it’s totally safe to bake the cake for the first few minutes on the floor of a gas oven. Of course, if you prefer not to do that, you can bake it like a normal cake. You might have to lengthen the cooking time for a few minutes though. Happy baking!

      • Reply Ferne November 17, 2018 at 6:30 pm

        Thanks for the quick response. I will try this cake for Thanksgiving

        • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre November 17, 2018 at 7:28 pm

          I am delighted to hear… Do let me know how it turns out. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  • Reply Christine November 17, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    Can I freeze this cake for a week and warm it up last minute.?

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre November 17, 2018 at 6:20 pm

      Hi Christine, this cake is very flan-like so I’m not sure if it will keep its texture after freezing… it will also loose its delicious crisp edges. So I would say it’s best to make it fresh. Enjoy!

  • Reply Theresa November 14, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    My favorite foolproof recipe. Thinking about doing it with Bosc pears, maybe adding a little almond extract. Thoughts?

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre November 16, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      Hi Theresa, I’m thrilled you love this recipe. I’ve made in numerous times with Bosc pears. Make sure the pears are very ripe (with yellow skin). And I recommend not using any almond extract. This dessert is about the pure flavor of the fruit… the ripe Boscs will deliver. Enjoy!

  • Reply Liz January 15, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    I had a dozen old gala apples and used them in this recipe. It turned out excellently. I should have followed your recommendation for preventing leaks. Thanks!

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre January 24, 2018 at 6:43 pm

      I’m delighted to hear you enjoyed this apple cake, Liz! And sorry about the leak… If only springform pan manufacturers would remedy the problem!!! We would all be happier bakers, no?

  • Reply Jen December 20, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    I did a google search for butternut squash tart and this Tuscan Apple Cake recipe cane up. I was intrigued by it and substituted sliced squash for the apples. I did add some of the typical pumpkin pie spices as well because I thought that the squash probably didn’t have the flavor of the apples. I really enjoyed it. I want to try it again but maybe make it in a more savory way. I don’t know when that will be.

    Also, I will be sure to take your advice about the parchment paper fix because my spring form pan leaked and the smoke alarm was going off for quite a while yesterday afternoon!!

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre January 12, 2018 at 6:53 pm

      Hi Jen! Thank you for your comment. I am delighted this recipe inspired you to make a butternut squash cake – how fun! Hope the parchment paper trick works well next time you use your springform pan… Enjoy!

  • Reply Lauren November 21, 2017 at 12:46 am

    Can you use honeycrisp apples for this recipe?

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre December 4, 2017 at 6:10 pm

      Hello Lauren, Yes, Honeycrisp apples would work fine in this recipe. Enjoy!

  • Reply Algene Adams November 6, 2017 at 1:48 am

    Do you actually put the pan on the bottom of the oven and not on the rack?

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre November 14, 2017 at 3:51 am

      Indeed you do, Algene. If you click on the video icons in “Step 4” of the recipe, you’ll see exactly how it’s done. Happy baking!

  • Reply Eileen September 27, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    This looks lovely, dying to try it out at the weekend. Any chance I can freeze it ?

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre September 27, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      Hello Eileen, Apple season is upon us, isn’t it? I am very excited for you to try this recipe out too… But unfortunately, I do not recommend you freezing this delicate cake. You will understand why when you make it. Enjoy!

  • Reply Hettie July 21, 2017 at 6:40 am

    Hi Viviane

    I started a few months ago to use only brown sugar, the light brown, for baking.
    Will it work in this delicious Tuscan Apple Pie?
    Thx
    Hettie

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre July 21, 2017 at 9:22 pm

      Hi Hettie! Yes, I think it would be fine… Enjoy!

  • Reply Deb|EastofEdenCooking.com December 16, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    I’m always on the hunt for apple recipes that allow the apple flavor to shine. I have found it! Craving a fat slice of this beauty with my mid-morning tea!

  • Reply Niko December 14, 2016 at 1:46 am

    Viviane, this cake was sensational! Super easy, and super delicious!
    I had a question about decreasing the sugar…would I need to adjust anything else? What if I did half a cup of sugar…Thanks for creating!

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre December 16, 2016 at 1:31 am

      You are most welcome, Niko! I am so, so glad you loved this cake!!! As for the sugar, if you decrease it you will lose the caramel crust, as well as some flavor and texture. That’s because the sugar helps the apples to cook. I tested this dessert many time with more and less sugar. The measurements I published yielded the most flavorful cake, with the least amount of sugar. Sometimes, you’ve just got to have a little sweetness! 😊

  • Reply Theresa December 8, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Viviane, this cake is the bomb. I’ve made it multiple times, but this time I used a regular 9″ round cake pan instead of a springform and it turned out better than ever. I just buttered the bottom of the pan and lined it with a round of buttered parchment, and it lifted out easily. Thanks for this great recipe.

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre December 13, 2016 at 3:27 pm

      Very glad to hear this, Theresa! I am over the moon that this cake is now part of your repertoire… just warms my heart!

  • Reply mjskitchen December 6, 2016 at 3:48 am

    We love dishes like this for breakfast! Yours looks perfect. It wouldn’t last long in this house.

  • Reply Janet H December 4, 2016 at 7:25 am

    I’d love to make this for a sick friend who has gone all organic.
    Can the substitute the sugar for stevia and use organic flour.
    I welcome your thoughts and any suggestions.

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre December 5, 2016 at 6:06 pm

      Hi Janet, I am sorry to hear about your friend. How good of you to cook something for her! I always use organic flour, and there is no difference between organic and regular flour in the way that both these flours bake. But I’ve never cooked with Stevia so I cannot help you with that. I would say that you should make this recipe with regular sugar first, so you know what it is suppose to be like (a cake for yourself?!)… and then try it with Stevia and see how it did. Good luck and happy baking!

  • Reply Brenda McDougall December 12, 2015 at 6:21 am

    Hi Viviane,
    I have made this cake several times now and it’s always sensational. Sometimes, however, the mixture is a bit runny and leaks out from the bottom of the springform pan. What might be causing that? Sometimes I’ve had to use regular butter. Could it be that? Or a bit too much butter?

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre December 13, 2015 at 6:41 pm

      Hi Brenda! I am so glad you’ve been enjoying this cake… I do love making it too! As for the leakage, some spring-form pans don’t have as tight a grip. It helps lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. I just added a “Viviane’s tip” at the bottom of the recipe – take a peek for the instructions and let me know if that helps next time you make the cake. Happy baking… and happy holidays to you and yours!

  • Reply Angie@Angie's Recipes October 24, 2015 at 5:15 am

    The cake looks marvelous, Viviane. Lovely layers of sliced apples and caramelized bottom…a heavenly combo!

  • Reply Irene September 11, 2015 at 6:04 am

    Marvelous job. It’s clever to read somebody & have the chance with the video’s mark to watch directly, what read!
    I’ll make this cake at once.

    Thank you, so much.

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre September 18, 2015 at 8:14 pm

      You are most welcome, Irene! Thank you so much for your note… and happy baking!

  • Reply Leslie Mandell May 15, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    Does baking on the floor of the oven mean the bottom rack? I have an electric oven and don’t think I’d like to put the cake pan on the electric coils…

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre May 18, 2015 at 6:10 pm

      Hi again Leslie, If electric coils are on the floor of your oven, then definitely do not put your cake pan directly on them. I would recommend using the bottom rack instead. Good luck and have fun baking your cake!

  • Reply Leslie Mandell May 15, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Can I bake the cake early in the day and serve it for dessert that evening?
    What about baking the cake the night before?

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre May 18, 2015 at 6:08 pm

      Hi Leslie, look at my recommendation in the “Cook’s note”. This cake is best eaten the day it’s made. If you refrigerate it, it loses its lovely crisp edge.

  • Reply Cynthia February 21, 2015 at 1:04 am

    In oven baking! Did not have milk, so used buttermilk( which I bought to make your pana cotta recipe which sounds & looks amazing! ) & no butter so substituted olive oil. I’ll let you know how it tastes. Hmmm no idea, you probably have an idea though!! OxC

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre February 24, 2015 at 6:31 pm

      Dearest Cynthia, I hope you loved this recipe (even with the forced subs). But do promise me to make it again with milk and butter… It’ll be that much more delicious! Thank you so much for your note… and happy baking!

  • Reply Madonna November 13, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    I pinned this because it looks so good. I have never baked anything on the floor of my oven, even for ten minutes. I guess I will give this technique a try.

    • Reply Viviane November 14, 2014 at 3:08 pm

      Thank you, Madonna! This cake is one of my all-time favorite. If you give it a try, let me know how it turns out!

  • Reply Deb|EastofEdenCooking November 13, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    I am very fond of apple desserts and the Tuscan Apple Cake has my undivided attention! Such a lush and and beautiful autumn dessert!

  • Reply nancy uribe October 22, 2014 at 1:15 am

    As soon as I saw this recipe and the picture, I knew it was an awesome cake. I made it today and I think this is one of the best cakes ai have ever tried. It was DELICIOUS!!!!!!! I couldn’t stop eating it. I used brown sugar and only 1/2 cup. I love this easy to make recipe. I’m not a huge baking person and I was able to make this cake. Thank you!!!!!!

    • Reply Viviane October 27, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      Dear, dear Nancy. You are so welcome and thank you so much for your note and for letting me know how your cake turned out. You put a very big smile on my face! You may also want to try it with pears (Bartlets or Anjou)… or a mix of apples and pears – just delicious! Happy baking!

  • Reply Donna Ford March 1, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Looks really delicious Viviane. Just what we hungry people need after a long day working!

  • Reply Sara January 23, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    I love the texture of the cake underneath the apples! Wow, how interesting. Looks easy and delicious!

  • Reply jaime @ sweet road January 9, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    This recipe seems a lot easier than I would have expected… More inspiration for me to try it!

    • Reply Viviane January 9, 2013 at 4:38 pm

      Hi Jaime! Indeed, this recipe is very easy… and incredibly delicious! If you try it, let me know how you liked it. Happy baking!

    Question or comment? I'd love to hear from you!